GREED IS A BAD ADVISOR
by Agustín Blázquez with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton
The announcement of the Clinton Administration’s new softer policy toward Cuba, so soon after the FBI’s September 1998 discovery of the biggest Castro spy ring in history, and days after the US expelled three diplomats from Cuba’s UN mission because of their involvement with the spy ring, is a revealing sign of Clinton’s weakness.
Apparently trying to secure a "spot" in history other the one on Miss Lewisky’s blue dress, Clinton still insists on opening up Cuba, copying Nixon’s opening of China. By doing so, he is stepping on the aspirations and rights of the Cuban people to live with freedom and dignity after 40 years of a tyranny unlike any other in the Americas. He is stepping on the hearts of the overwhelming majority of Cubans on the island and in exile. The political prisoners, the dissidents, the independent journalists and the dead - over 87,000 deaths he caused – 30 of them US citizens.
Apparently he doesn’t care that the bodies of those US citizens have not been returned to their families in the US, with the exception of Captain Thomas Willard Ray, killed in 1961. According to a book in progress by Dr. Armando Lago, the rest remain unburied and some are on exhibition in the museums of the revolution and in morgues throughout Cuba. The forgotten names found so far by Dr. Lago are:
Armando Alejandre, Jr., 1996 Howard Anderson, 1961 Rudolph Anderson, Jr., 1962
Leo Francis Baker, 1961 Andrew Degraux, 1962 Frederic Carter, 1982
Carlos Costa, 1996 Mathew Edward Duke, 1960 Robert Ellis Frost, 1960
Andrew Graney, 1962 Robert Otis Fuller, 1960 Wade Carrol Gray, 1961
August K. McNair, 1961 William Alexander Morgan,1961 William Horace Patten, 1961
Bill Paterson, 1961 Mario de La Pena, 1996 Rafael del Pino Siero, 1977
Alexander Rorke, Jr. 1963 Adam Post, 1970 Mike Rafferty, 1966
Shelton, 1963 Anthony Salvard, 1960 Riley W. Shamburger, 1961
John Skelton, 1963 Allen Dale Thompson, 1960 Robert Tuller, 1960
Jeoffrey Sullivan, 1963 Anthony Zarba, 1960
In November 1998, the INS uncovered the largest illegal immigrant ring in US history - 12,000 people from India, Pakistan, Syria and Afghanistan. They were smuggled in through Moscow and Cuba. Each illegal immigrant paid from $20,000 to $28,000 to be smuggled into the US. Without doubt Castro got a big chunk of it. Beginning in the 1980s, thanks to an arrangement with Manuel Noriega, Castro began smuggling illegals into the US via Panama. Cubans in the US paid from $8,000 to $10,000 per relative for them to be delivered by Castro’s agents to Miami. I know of 4 of my relatives who came that way, as well as friends.
As recently as December 30, 1998, the smuggling of Cubans into Florida has been on the increase. According to US Coast Guard officials, the number for 1998 was 1,025 in opposition to 406 during 1997. Castro is laughing all the way to the bank.
According to a letter dated November 12, 1998, directed to their colleagues by Florida Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, the Castro regime is still a threat to US national security. Castro’s Cuba still is a destabilizing force in the hemisphere by training, organizing and supporting guerrilla warfare and insurgency groups in our backyard. Cuba is still sponsoring terrorism and continues to appear on the State Department’s list of terrorist countries for its support of global terrorism and violence. Cuba is still a safe heaven for terrorists and felons who flee the US to avoid punishment for their crimes. Cuba is still a transit country for the illegal narcotics trade from Latin America and the Caribbean into the US. Cuba is still a military threat as revealed on February 24, 1996, when Castro’s air force shot down 2 US registered civilian planes over international waters, killing 2 US born citizens, a naturalized citizen who was a decorated Vietnam Veteran who served two tours of duty and a permanent US resident.
According to Dr. Manuél Cereijo, a professor at Florida International University, who has dedicated himself to bring attention to the critical issue of the dangers of the Juraguá nuclear plant under construction in Castro’s Cuba, either an accident or an incident could occur at that shoddily built facility. A nuclear disaster at Juraguá could obliterate the Cuban population and would be catastrophic for the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico and the US, as far north as Washington DC and west to Texas. The radioactivity could cover this area within 24 to 72 hours, making mass evacuation nearly impossible.
Dr. Cereijo lists three more threats to our hemisphere that permit "an attack from Castro against the US, with the possibility of large casualties and disruption of the economy." They are a special military elite force of 2,500 highly trained men established in the 1980s, who are experts in infiltration techniques and the use of bacteriological and chemical weapons. A new electronic espionage and interruption-of-computer-communications base built in Bejucal, near Havana, which has been operational since March 1997. Its function is to interrupt commercial and military computer communications in the US. Since 1991, Cuba has been working to develop computer viruses to infect US computers. The limited risk of detection makes this form of warfare a serious threat to hemispheric security. And if there is skepticism about Castro’s capabilities for bacteriological and chemical warfare, how about his 12 such facilities located around Havana? The most notorious, nicknamed "La Fabriquita" (little factory), with a 10,000 RPM centrifuge and other laboratory equipment bought in Milan, Italy, has been in operation since December 2, 1993.
With all these well known facts about Castro’s Cuba, the Clinton administration – not content with their lack of enforcement of Helms-Burton’s Title IV - is taking even more steps to soften the US-Castro policy: now, we add the OK to sell food and agricultural products to non governmental organizations (NGOs).
As pointed out by New Jersey Representative Bob Menéndez, Florida Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Cuban American National Foundation, the vast majority of Cuban NGOs – the exception is Caritas – are controlled by Castro’s regime. In other words, there basically is only one NGO. Rep. Lehtinen said, "Such sales would afford a substantial opportunity for Castro to prolong his rule." Rep. Menéndez said, "the possibility of Cuban government-created NGOs acting on behalf of the Cuban regime to complete sales, particularly of agricultural products, is very real."
And anyway, Cubans can buy in Cuba anything from the government stores - including food and medicines - as long as they pay in US dollars. So, there is the fallacy of the US embargo excuse. The merchandise is there. What is not there is the US dollars or any other international currency with which to buy from the US or any other country. The only one with money is Castro.
However, Castro, through hard-liner Ricardo Alarcón, rejected and scorned Clinton’s proposal. When are Clinton and other US politicians and businessmen finally going to learn about Castro’s intransigence and unwillingness to change? The Cubans will be better served if Clinton and company stop meddling to keep Castro afloat and demand for the end of his tyranny.
It appears that the Clinton administration, with its hesitant policy of trying to appease Castro and everybody else, and to get a "spot" in history, is bowing to the pressures of unscrupulous business interests in the US, desperate to join the herd of despicable Canadians and Europeans for a last minute piece of the pie. It is a shameful disregard for the well being of the Cuban people. That is why greed is a bad advisor.
Mr Blazquez is the Producer/Director of the documentaries
COVERING CUBA and CUBA: THE PEARL OF THE ANTILLES